2) During your 1L courses, for the purposes of preparing for final exams and other graded assignments, which would you read and outline; E&E books or the Hornbooks?
Always look for treatises and commercial outlines written by 1) your professor or 2) your casebook author. Remember that casebooks have multiple authors, so check all of them. The more popular authors like Krier, Yeazell, Epstein, and Dressler have all written commercial supplements that will give you simple and clear explanations of all the stuff they obfuscate in their casebooks. Keep in mind that you can also check out the major treatises in your library before buying them (if you even want to buy them at all). If you can't find matched authors, then you could start with the following as generic casebook companions, and see how it goes:
Civ. Pro. (Glannon) (the E&E might be all you ever need for this)
Understanding Property Law (Sprankling) (unless you have Krier's book, then his Gilberts is likely all you need)
Law of Torts (Dobbs) (unless you have Epstein's book, then maybe his Introduction to Torts)
Understanding Criminal Law (Dressler) (he also wrote the Black Letter Outline on Criminal Law)
Constitutional Law (Chemerinsky) (unless your casebook author or professor wrote a treatise on this)
Just keep in mind that the endgame is the exam. It doesn't matter that much what you read, because nothing is going to magically make you understand how to analyze and apply the law. Better written or better matched treatises and supplements will just make it less work to get through the volume of reading and grasp the concepts. If you read some of the shorter commercial supplements in each subject before you start, then you will have a vague overview of all your subjects, and can move on to deeper things once classes begin. This helps in the narrow sense that you won't be flailing around trying to grasp basic things like the difference between the Restatement of Contracts and the UCC for the first couple of weeks. Do not plan on actually reading more than one supplement along with your assigned casebook during the semester.
Having read things like the E&Es through before the semester starts, you can turn right away to what really matters in them, which is working the problems. The real meat of learning is going to come from working problems as you go along, so what you really want are lots of multiple choice and short answer review books. The E&Es are good for this. The Finz Multistate Method has a shitload of MBE style questions in every subject except Civ. Pro. and is a great deal. The LexisNexis Q&A on Civ. Pro. is good. Glannon Guides are also nice in subjects they cover. When you hit Estates & Future Interests, get the Possessory Estates and Future Interests Primer by Wendel. You will also find cast off Bar/Bri review books laying around school at the beginning of the semester, and the generic MBE review volumes of those are a great (and free) source of multiple choice review problems. The key is just to have lots of good problems to work, and to work them as you go.
The really crucial thing is that you need to find or form a good study group early on, because this is what will keep you on track and help you learn to apply the concepts. With this in mind, remember that not everyone has an unlimited budget. You'll have to get together with your study group and figure out a short list of Q&A style supplements that you all either have or can afford to buy to draw your problems from. Watch people during the stupid little "mock class" that they inevitably have during orientation, and sit somewhere around the ones you want to study with on the first day. Ideally you want to hook up with the smartest non-assholes that you can find. Five is the ideal size for a study group -- any bigger and you'll never be able to get together, and smaller will not give you enough difference of opinion.
Make your first meeting the second or third week of class. Meet each week and work through a set of problems in each subject, covering whatever it is that you did in class the week before. That way people have time to collect and review their notes, and to start to understand things a little before you try to study together. Early on you might only do one day a week, because everyone is going to feel buried. Later and towards exams, you can do one day each week per subject, because you'll be more productive and your Legal Research & Writing workload will taper off.
If you have lots of practice exams from your professor with model answers, then you should switch to working on nothing but those the last four weeks or so. You don't even have to work them all out -- just get together and outline the answers to each essay question, then see how many points you hit from the model answer. The key is to do a good number of them -- four or five per class -- so you can develop the skills of breaking questions down and putting all the concepts together. Even if you've been working short problems consistently, you will still have a lot to learn about tackling actual exams in the last 1/2 to 1/3 of the semester. Take as long as you want on the first ones, and work the last couple under a time limit to check your time management skills as well.
If you have no past exams because you have a visiting professor, or one who thinks students should "focus on understanding the material instead of scoring high on the exam," then pull together mock exams for each session made up of three to five questions from books like Siegel's.
To be totally honest, I tried several approaches to outlining and in the end concluded that it was a massive waste of time. If your professor wrote your casebook or treatise, then an outline following their TOC might make some sense. Otherwise, you'll find it easy enough to get outlines for your class with your professor from upper class students. Either start with those, or get a decent commercial outline and use the capsule summary up front as a starting point.
For one class I used a handed down outline and just studied that, supplementing it with new cases that it did not cover. For another I ripped the capsule summary out of the front of Gilberts and wrote in short notes for all the cases we read wherever they fit. For Civ. Pro. I wound up just getting a PDF file of the FRCP that you can find online, deleting all the pages with rules we did not cover, and printing that out to use as a long outline (again, writing case cites and one sentence briefs in the margins wherever they fit).
You will also have to put together a short ten to fifteen page attack outline of checklists, flowcharts, and elements that you will actually use on exam day. You can probably steal a lot of that from others as well -- search the Internet for "flow chart" and "civil procedure," for instance, or just get those Crunchtime books and copy the more useful things out of the first section. Cobbling stuff together and then adding in notes or cites where needed will give you what you need with a whole lot less work than slaving over it for countless hours yourself. Use the time you save to do what matters -- read your treatise through a second time, and work more problems
Or knock yourself out hand crafting the ultimate two-hundred page outline if you want. Somebody has to do it, after all, if only so that lazy bums like me can feast on the fruits of your labor next year.